COLORADO SPRINGS — Tucked away in one corner of downtown Colorado Springs, Andrew Cronk is utilizing his passion for creating art via insect taxidermy to spark conversations that he hopes will lead people to be more conservation-minded.
Ever since he was a kid, Andrew Cronk, owner and operator of Cronk Art and Curiosities in downtown Colorado Springs, has been fascinated with the natural world.
"That fascination quickly focused on insects," Andrew states on his website, "more specifically butterflies!"
His love for pollinators, and insects of all sorts, has led him down a path of working on creating and maintaining gardens, both personal and professional, for his entire life up to this point.
At each stop, he's always worked hard to educate anyone and everyone on how to create habitats for butterflies.
"I was able to educate others on how to construct sustainable habitats for butterflies with organic and natural practices. I would raise multiple species in store to share the wonder of metamorphosis with the public and show why they are a key part of our ecosystem," said Andrew.
After years of working in garden centers, Andrew decided to combine his passion for insects with his affinity for art, and began creating insect taxidermy.
Fast forward a few years to the latter half of 2021, and Andrew had opened a brick and mortar shop where he creates, displays, and discusses his work with visitors.
"And now I own a shop full of dead bugs, and some live ones," Andrew said.
He works with everything from butterflies, to moths, spiders, wasps, and more; everything is sourced ethically and everything can be used to spark conversations that he hopes will lead folks to be more conservation-minded.
"That's been the goal behind all of this from the beginning; if somebody buys this, they're probably going to ask questions on where it comes from, they're probably going to ask questions on how long they live, or where they live, or what they can do to attract some of these things to their yards," said Andrew.
Andrew hopes that these questions and conversations can be a jumping-off point for folks who come into the shop and that visitors will continue learning about insects after they exit.
As he looks to the future, this shop owner hopes to someday open a butterfly pavilion in Colorado Springs, "[So] people can see these things alive and moving and appreciate them."
Looking at the nearer future, in the warmer months of 2022, Andrew is working alongside other environmental stewardship groups, such as the Sustainable Education Experience out near the Black Forest, to break ground on the Southern Colorado Pollinator Paradise.
The effort will create a 3,750 square foot garden that will provide abundant habitat and forage for pollinator species that live in and migrate through the area.
This effort is in keeping with his long-held philosophy of doing his best to promote and care for the well-being of butterflies and other insects.
However, for now, if you want to learn more about Cronk Art and Curiosities, one of a few spaces in Colorado Springs that practice insect taxidermy, you can visit their website HERE.
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